A native New Yorker, Craig Strong graduated from Ithaca College and worked for years with Point Blank Body Armor, rising through the ranks to vice president of manufacturing. When he relocated to Los Angeles, he got involved in property investment and transitioned to the field of real estate. Craig has been an award-winning, top-producing Realtor® in the area for more than 20 years and is the founder of the Craig Strong Group under the umbrella of Compass, where he is vice president of Luxury Home Sales. He has been a Toluca Lake resident for nearly two decades and has served for years on the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council and the boards of the Toluca Lake Homeowners Association and the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce.
What advice do you have for buyers in the current market?
I would say right now for any buyer in the market, play it smart. It’s been a seller’s market for a long time, and now you can expect to negotiate a better deal for yourself. Higher interest rates and lower principal mean buyers should have thorough inspections and make sure you get what you need. Right now is a great time to buy with a ton of buyer leverage!
What sets you apart from other real estate agents?
My experience is unprecedented. There are so many people who have come into the business during COVID-19, and I can tell who is new to the industry and who isn’t. Experience in a changing market is so important, and working with an agent who has handled change before is crucial for a successful transaction. Whenever there is a changing market, things get more complicated and emotional. It’s important to have someone with experience who can handle these changes and navigate tricky real estate transactions. All of the transactions I have successfully closed over the past two decades help me achieve the same success for my current clients.
What would you like potential clients to know about you?
I truly represent my clients at all times. Commission is never a motivating factor for me. I want what’s best for my clients and take every deal seriously, regardless of price point. I think that is why I see a lot of repeat clients: representation to the fullest.
Is staging a home worth the cost?
Yes! Yes! Yes! People in general (not everyone—don’t get offended!) don’t always know the best ways to furnish a space, and that’s OK. That’s what stagers are for! The furniture and flow help buyers visualize living in the home. Stagers make a home feel warm and inviting. A house has a much better chance of selling and going into multiple offers when it is professionally prepared for a potential buyer.
What impact has social media had on your business?
There is a certain methodology to our participation on social media platforms. I can chart my progress as well as track the properties I am listing and selling. Social media is also an incredible way to show off our community and the many ways in which the Craig Strong Group participates in local events. Through social media, people who don’t live in this area can get a glimpse of what living in Toluca Lake looks like. In addition, it is a great space for interaction with those who do live here. I also find that putting ourselves out there helps current and future clients take a look at how we market. We always get compliments on how well the houses are being represented.
What is new and exciting for your business in 2023?
As in any changing market, there is an opportunity to remarket yourself. It’s a time to either invent yourself or reinvent yourself. I am personally excited to announce that I will be starting an all-new Compass Mentoring Program as a senior mentor. In addition, I will soon be launching my Strong Coaching Program for all agents! Many agents came into the industry post-COVID-19 and are in need of some guidance. And seasoned agents want to change things up. Acknowledging this need, I decided to create an industry support program. Can’t wait!
What do you love most about your job?
I have gotten to know so many wonderful people through my business. I’ve met some of my best friends through my real estate transactions. I never thought it would be possible to connect the two, but this industry has a way of bringing people together. I love that part of this job.
Disclaimer: Compass is a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to the accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. Exact dimensions can be obtained by retaining the services of an architect or engineer. This is not intended to solicit property already listed.